Prevailing Wage Overview

Prevailing wage laws apply to public construction work and generally require employers to pay workers the hourly wage and fringe benefits paid to the majority of workers in a particular county.

For State building projects begun since January 1, 2017, see the Department of Administration's website.

The 2015-17 Budget bill made significant changes to Wisconsin's Prevailing Wage Laws, Effective January 1, 2017.

2015 Wisconsin Act 55 (the budget bill) repealed the state prevailing wage law for local governmental units such as villages, towns, cities, school districts, or sewerage districts effective January 1, 2017. However, if a local governmental unit:

  • issued a Request for Bids before January 1, 2017, for a project of public works that was subject to bidding or,
  • entered into a contract before January 1, 2017, for a project of public works that was not subject to bidding,

then those public works projects are subject to the prior prevailing wage law (§66.0903, Wis. Stats.) through the life of the project. Projects of public works with prevailing wage project determinations issued prior to 2017 continue to be subject to the prior prevailing wage law through the life of the project even though the project may have work going on in 2017 or subsequent years.

Contractors working on local governmental unit projects with prevailing wage rate determinations must continue to pay employees the appropriate prevailing wage and maintain required prevailing wage payroll records. For instance, if a contractor is working in 2018 on a public works project with a project determination issued prior to 2017, then the contractor is required to comply with the "old" prevailing wage rate law (§66.0903, Wis. Stats.). After January 1, 2017, DWD will continue to enforce prevailing wage requirements for projects with DWD prevailing wage determinations issued under the "old" prevailing wage laws (§§ 66.0903 & 103.49, Wis. Stats.).

For new public works projects starting on January 1, 2017, state prevailing wage law will only apply to state agency and state highway projects. Prevailing wage rates applicable to state agencies will be those issued by the U.S. Department of Labor under the Davis-Bacon Act, 40 U.S.C. 3142.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration will enforce the new state agency prevailing wage law (§16.856, Wis. Stats.) and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will continue to enforce prevailing wage on state highway projects (under a law renumbered as §84.062, Wis. Stats.).

Resources for Projects bid prior to 2017

Search for Project Determinations issued by DWD.

In this section, the public may view specific prevailing wage project determinations and find prevailing wage rates by county for the various construction trades and project types. These rates are for public information only; they are not to be used for project bidding purposes. The determinations here are those issued by DWD for work begun prior to January 1, 2017.

For More Information

Applicable to projects bid prior to January 1, 2017

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